Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Tonight the white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel to announce to the world that a new Pope had been elected by the College of Cardinals. Around an hour later the new Pope Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was announced from St. Peters with the information that he would be known as Pope Francis.

It is not known whether it was St. Francis of Assisi or St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuits, that was his inspiration for his new title but as Pope Francis is a Jesuit I think that St. Francis Xavier is the probable choice. However, in his introductory speech Pope Francis stressed the need for Evangelisation and this was a priority for both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier. He asked the thousands gathered in Vatican Square and people of good will worldwide to pray for him. I will be doing so at Mass tomorrow at the Hospital Chapel and he will be a regular part of our prayers when we remember all Christian Leaders including Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Basil, Patriarch of the Orthodox, Justin Archbishop of Canterbury, the Leaders of the Reformed and Non-conformist tradition, Stephen our Diocesan Bishop and David Bishop of Barking and Norman Bishop of Richborough.
At this very important and special time we also pray for our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters as they greet their new Pope. We need to remember that as the successor of Peter, Francis is our Pope as well and to make regular prayers for him and for Christian Unity.


  1. Justine!!!! Is the new archbishop transgendered... or has a woman slipped in!

  2. Now corrected. Spell checks are not all they're cracked up to be.

  3. St Francis of Assisi. The Vatican has spoken. Apparently St Francis is his family's patron saint.

  4. Great news - thank you. As Vicar of a parish dedicated to St. Francis for 15 years he is one of my favurite saints.